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Who To Contact About Email Address Abuse

Though the internet and e-mail do allow us many communication benefits, its ease of access and relative anonymity does open the door to potential abusers of this technology who make online harassment as common as it is today.  However, just because you are being harassed online, it doesn't mean that you simply have to put up with it.  There are things that you can do to protect yourself and put this nuisance to a stop.

Overall, the rule of thumb is not to speak to a harasser at all.  However, that being said, once you realize that you are actually being harassed by someone, you should send a single very important message that says simply and clearly "never contact me again in any way."  You don't need to explain why and you shouldn't call the person a harasser.  Just make the flat, basic statement and keep a record of having made it.  After that point, you must cut off all communications with the harasser.

Saving everything is an important part of making sure that you're dealing with a harasser properly.  If you need to contact the proper authorities, they will likely want to see some evidence of the harassment.  This will include any e-mails or messages that this individual has sent you, as well as your clear message stating that you no longer wish to be contacted by the harasser. 

This is why it is important to resist that urge to delete the harassing communications.  Keep as many of the communications as you can, whether they be e-mails, chat logs, or anything else.  If you don't want to be reminded of them, save them in their own folder out of view so that you won't see them all the time; but do not delete them.

With this evidence, you're ready to make a complaint to the proper authorities should the harassment continues after you have made the request for all communication to stop.  These authorities include:

-  The harasser's e-mail provider - identifying the provider may be obvious, for example, if the subdomain of the e-mail address is the e-mail provider's name, such as hotmail.com, gmail.com or yahoo.com, or you may have to do some research online to discover who is providing the e-mail services to the harasser, such as a site internet host or ISP.  Online resources such as RapLeaf can help you to determine the e-mail provider, discover more about the person harassing you, and are a great place for you to report e-mail abuse.

- The FTC - if the harassment is coming in the form of SPAM-type e-mails, the FTC will accept complaints about harassment of that nature.

- The Police - if you are receiving threats to yourself, people you know, or your property, you should immediately contact your local police.

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